The secrets and scandals surrounding Nicola Gobbo, the former criminal barrister turned police informant, have surfaced this week. The first public hearing of the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants included shocking admissions by Victoria Police. These related to professional misconduct and improper interactions with Ms Gobbo. This disgraceful saga of Lawyer X has all the elements for an Academy Award. In fact, Foxtel reportedly commissioned an eight-part series on the life of the controversial figure. Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie are both contending to play the main role.
Shocking Admissions by Victoria Police on Informants
The first public hearing of the RC revealed disturbing new information about Ms Gobbo’s interactions with Victoria Police in the 1990s and 2000s. Detective Senior Sergeant Tim Argall admitted he had an “episode of physical intimacy” with the informant in 1997. This was two years after he signed her up as a police source. Following this incident, the police officer sought legal advice from Ms Gobbo when his drug squad detective friend, Paul Dale, was charged with burglary of a drug house. Mr Argall added the gangland barrister was “enthusiastic” and may have compromised professional dealings. He said that “she went perhaps further than he would have liked” when it came to operational matters.
A 2011 transcript of a conversation between Ms Gobbo and two detective sergeants revealed she also had an “on and off” sexual relationship with former assistant commissioner Jeff Pope. However, Mr Pope, denied the allegations as “completely false.” Mr Pope and Mr Argall will give evidence to the commission next week.
The Objectives of the Royal Commission
The RC aims to investigate the number of cases affected by Ms Gobbo’s conduct and the practice and processes of Victoria’s police when dealing with informants. Ms Gobbo provided information on some of the state’s most infamous underworld members. The RC initially planned to investigate Ms Gobbo’s registration by Victoria Police from 2005-2009. However, after several weeks of the announcement of the police inquiry by the RC in December 2018, Victoria Police told the commission she had also been registered in 1999 and 1995.
Revealing the Identity of Lawyer X
It was only last month the identity of Ms Gobbo, long referred to as Lawyer X, was revealed to the world after a suppression order was lifted by the High Court. It was found by the judges that it was “essential in the public interest for the information to be disclosed.” It is necessary for accountability and transparency to be brought back into Victoria’s justice system to earn back the confidence and respect of citizens.
You can read more about Lawyer X here.